UPS Driver Wins Workers Compensation After Hijacking

UPS Driver’s Truck Hijacked, Claimed Workers Compensation for PTSD, W. Va Supreme Court Awards the Compensation

upsThe Supreme Court of West Virginia has decided that a UPS worker, who filed a workers compensation claim due to PTSD suffered after his truck was hijacked, is entitled to workers compensation due to the physical nature of the injury.

In August 2010, Jay Hannah’s UPS truck was hijacked by Joseph Dennis Harrison, who held Hannah at gunpoint and forced him to drive the Wirt County state police detachment. The events of the hijacking were summarized by the court:

“The gunman fired a shot in the air near Mr. Hannah’s driver side door. He then threatened Mr. Hannah’s life and forced Mr. Hannah to drive him towards the police station. On the way to the police station, the gunman saw a police cruiser parked at a gas station and forced Mr. Hannah to pull over.

“The gunman then took the keys to the truck, stepped out of the passenger side door, and fired a shot at the ground. As the gunman was getting out of the truck, Mr. Hannah was able to escape and hide behind a nearby store. The gunman was subsequently fatally shot by law enforcement.”

Hanna sought counseling after the incident, and a psychologist officially diagnosed him with PTSO. Hannah suffered sleep disturbances, nightmares, hyper-vigilance, and depression, according to the court opinion.

In October of that year, Hannah filed a workers compensation claim for his injuries, but was denied because West Virginia workers compensation does not cover psychiatric injury. Hannah appealed the decision, and in February of 2011, the Office of Judges confirmed the workers compensation administrator’s decision. However, 9 months later, the review board sided with Hannah, citing the physical nature of Hannah’s trauma.

Because Hannah was physically detained, assaulted by the sound of gunfire, and stripped of his keys, the Board of Review concluded that Hannah suffered personal injury in the course of his employment, and awarded his workers compensation claim.

Now, the West Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to uphold the decision, which could change psychiatric workers compensation filings in the state.

What qualifies as a work injury for Workers Compensation in South Carolina?

There are obvious work injuries and not-so obvious work injuries.

  • Physical injury: an accident such as a fall, chemical burn, cut.
  • Repetitive injury: an injury acquired by repeating the same acts over and over through work. This could be accumulative hearing loss, debilitating back pain, carpel tunnel, neck pain. It is recommended to report a repetitive injury as soon as you need to seek medical attention for it.
  • Disease: an occupational disease is one that is acquired because of your job such as lung diseases (ex. Asbestosis) from work environments and hazardous work-related materials, or disease contracted because your work in a hospital.
  • Mental issues: Mental issues from extreme or unusual work conditions or from an ongoing work injury.

Not all states cover psychiatric injury on the job, but South Carolina workers compensation allows for those claims. If your workers compensation claim due to mental or emotional stress has been denied, the Strom Law Firm can help.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Workers Compensation Claims for Mental or Emotional Stress

The workers compensation lawyers at The Strom Law Firm, LLC proudly seek justice on behalf of employees injured or killed on the job who work for private companies, as well as employees working for local county, city, and state government. Receiving benefits for work related stress can be difficult.  You need an attorney who will fight with you to the end. Give us a call today 803.252.4800 for a free workers comp case review.